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15 April 2014
Zeynabou Kane

Education under attack: Libya

More than 200 schools were used by armed groups during the 2011 uprising against the Gaddafi regime and more than 1,900 schools were damaged or destroyed.


Libya’s conflict began in February 2011 when protests in Benghazi against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime were crushed by security forces firing on the crowd. This led to a rapid escalation between forces loyal to Gaddafi and those seeking political and social change. In March 2011, a NATO coalition intervened with an air campaign following UN Security Council Resolution 1973 and on 16 September 2011, the UN recognized the National Transitional Council (NTC) as the legal representative of Libya. The following month, on 20 October 2011, Gaddafi was captured and subsequently killed by rebels. In total, more than 1,900 schools were damaged during the 2011 uprising,1017 of which 476 sustained heavy damage and 19 were completely destroyed.1018 It is not known how many of these were intentionally targeted. Fighting in 2011 caused extensive damage to universities in Misrata, while in June 2011, the Libyan government said NATO bombing in Tripoli had damaged university buildings. A nationwide school-based survey, reporting conflict-related causes of drop-out, indicated that a total of 338 pupils had been killed, 268 injured and 48 disabled during the war in 2011. The priorities of the new Ministry of Education during the transition period included curriculum reform, clearing schools of unexploded ordnance and repairing damaged infrastructure. Gross enrolment rates in Libya were 114 per cent (2006) at primary level,1022 110 per cent (2006) for secondary1023 and 54 per cent (2003) for tertiary. The adult literacy rate was 90 per cent (2011).

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